PROJECT SUMMARY The number of funded physician-scientists in the United States has decreased steadily since the 1970s and the numbers are most alarming for surgeon-scientists. Currently, only 6% of U.S. surgeons have funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)1. From 2006 to 2016, NIH funding for surgery departments decreased by $2.79 million per year and funding success rates for surgeons declined by 0.21% per year2. Contemporaneously, publication impact factors and the career development conversion rate (K to R) for surgeons increased, suggesting the quality of surgical research continues to increase. A recent report from the NIH expressed concerned about the capacity to translate research into clinical care and policy as the number of well-trained individuals who cross the bench to bedside divide drops3. There are two evidence-based interventions that effectively promote surgeon engagement in research. The integration of a two-year research fellowship into general surgery residency increases the likelihood of an academic career. The track record of our training program, which has adhered to this model over the last 20 years, is strong with the majority of our trainees receiving subsequent funding and/or an appointment in an academic department. Recent evidence shows that the presence of PhD-scientists in a department of surgery strongly correlates with increased departmental research productivity as well as increased productivity for individual surgeon-scientists4. We therefore propose the following specific objectives for our training program: 1. To provide training in the conduct of basic, translational, clinical and health services surgical oncology research through a tailored, didactic, postdoctoral research experience; 2. To increase the number of well-trained PhD-scientists with a focus in surgical oncology; 3. To develop scientists and surgeon-scientists as academic leaders with an emphasis on multidisciplinary and translational research as the next generation of surgical researchers in oncology. To meet these objectives, the University of Wisconsin (UW) Surgical Oncology Training (UW-SORT) Program utilizes the extensive resources of the UW Department of Surgery, UW Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC), the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, the Wisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program (WiSOR) and the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) to provide world-class, mentored training in the research methodologies necessary to develop productive NIH-funded research programs in surgical oncology. The core of our training program is a strong and diverse pool of experienced, extramurally funded trainers from a variety of surgical oncology-related disciplines. The trainee's practical research experience is supported by appropriate didactics, effective assessment processes, a plan to promote diversity by recruiting and retaining both women and minorities, and a comprehensive plan for training in the responsible conduct of research.
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